Tennis: Nadal out of doubles event over knee fear

Rafael Nadal will not play his scheduled doubles match at the Brazil Open today because of "knee overuse", organisers said.

But they added that the Spanish star intends to play his opening singles match on Thursday against Brazilian Joao Souza.

World No.5 Nadal had been scheduled to team up with Argentina's David Nalbandian in a second-round encounter against Argentine Horacio Zeballos and Austrian Oliver Marach on Wednesday.

Former world No.1 Nadal only returned to the tennis circuit in Chile last week, where he lost in the final, after a seven-month injury absence.

"The conditions are very difficult. The court is not in the best condition and the ball is very difficult to control," Nalbandian told a press conference.

Nalbandian and Nadal won a hard-fought match 6-3 3-6 11-9 against Spaniards Pablo Andujar and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez on the court late Tuesday.

"It's too bad I cannot play the doubles after the match Rafa and I had (yesterday)," the Argentine said.

"But he (Nadal) has to take care of himself and prepare for a long and hard year".

At a press conference on Tuesday, Nadal complained about having to play so many hardcourt events.

"That is a theme among the players and doctors," he said.

While conceding that reducing the number of events on hard surface was not possible at this time, he added: "I think that the ATP has to work to think of how to lengthen tennis players' careers."

"Can you imagine football players playing on cement?", he added.

"I am a bit tired after a hard week in Chile. But it was positive. The process of recovery follows its course," Nadal also said.

Asked when he expected to be 100 per cent fit, he responded: "I cannot know the future. If my knee allows, I will do everything possible to be at my best."

"I am a player who plays with a lot passion, a lot of energy. I suppose that does not help the knee."

"My long-term objective is to be in Brazil in 2016 (for the Rio Summer Olympics). I am going to work to arrive in good condition at what are likely to be my last Olympics," he said.

Considered by many to be the best ever claycourt player, seven-time French Open champion Nadal was back in Chile last week for the first time since a surprise second-round exit at Wimbledon in June.

- AFP

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